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Giving in Proportion to Our Ability.....and Beyond (Ezra 2:68-69)

Both the Old and New Testaments promote the principle of giving in proportion to our ability. Here we see a positive example of this standard in the action of the returning exiles (compare this to the account of the Israelites giving more than was needed for temple construction in Ex 25:1–7; 36:2–7).

The apostle Paul may have been alluding to this passage when he commanded Christians to give in proportion to their incomes (see 1Co 16:2), as well as when he commended the Macedonians Christians, who “gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded … for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people” (2Co 8:3–4).

Paul holds out the example of the Macedonians as committed, loving Christians, centered not on their own needs, desires and rights, but on those of others.

This principle of proportional giving makes sense, we agree, but working it out in our daily lives is not quite so simple.

Why? Because our chosen lifestyle affects our ability to practice generosity.


 As Christians, we are also engaged in a great battle that requires great resources. We too must realize that spending resources on our own private concerns leaves fewer resources for our church’s central concern.

When spending for self, we should ask, “Is this thing necessary?” Does this thing really contribute to my purpose in being here on this earth? Is this thing an asset to me as a soldier of Christ …

Think About It

•In what ways do you give according to your ability?

•How does your lifestyle affect your ability to give?

•How does your view of reality affect your lifestyle choices?

God Bless!


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